Elvis Presley Photographer Once Recalled Meeting The King: ‘He Was Just a Nice Guy’

by Emily Morgan

When Elvis Presley skyrocketed to stardom shot to fame in 1956, he changed pop culture forever. But, despite creating a monumental shift in entertainment and music, Presley didn’t alter his personality.

According to Photographer Lew Allen, who captured the King up close and personal, Presley’s character was just as platinum as his voice. Per Allen’s accounts, he “accidentally” became a part of Presley’s inner circle as his photographer. As it turns out, Presely cultivated and maintained a close relationship with his band, Scotty Moore and Bill Black.

In Presley’s early days, he took the world by storm with his gyrating hips and scandalous rock n’ roll. As a result, he shocked conservative America.

When Presley arrived for a show in Cleveland, Ohio, a young Presley had no press since a labor strike kept major newspapers from covering the show. However, there was one 17-year-old with a camera in attendance. As it turns out, this moment would forever change Allen’s photography career. He stepped in to capture some of Presley’s most famous shots.

Now, 66 years later, Allen still speaks fondly of the moment when he met the King. In an interview, he recalled the experience, saying, “It was like an accident.”

He continued, “The papers were on strike. They called up my high school. I got on the bus. I got down there. Everything went smoothly. I appeared at the stage door with my camera and was welcomed in and hurried into this press conference where they were talking about the show and talking about Elvis. During that period was when I first saw Elvis and photographed him and got to talk to him a little bit.”

Photographer admits he’d ‘never heard of’ Elvis Presley

However, there was a catch. The amateur photographer had no clue who Elvis Presley was. He later admitted, “I didn’t know who he was! I’d never heard of him. I didn’t know the first thing about him.”

However, he soon knew he was in the midst of something incredible when he saw 14,000 screaming fans waiting for 21-year-old Presley to hit the stage. When The King came out, he took to stage with his guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, which Allen was able to capture. Allen even joined them on stage to get some up close and personal pics of the group.

When Allen was asked if Elvis was just as confident in person, he gave his two cents.”Oh very much so, he was a really nice kid,” he said of a young Presley. “He was just a nice guy. He was friendly and had a cute smile. You could see why he was so popular. You could see why he was so successful. It was obvious.”

Allen also brought up the King’s relationship with his band members. “The relationship that those guys had together was amazing. They were musicians, they were friends who helped each other out. They were a team.”